Apr 22, 2017

Sangameshwara Devasthana, Kudala Sangama

January 30, 2016
The spot where two or more rivers or streams meet (confluence) is called Sangama and such spots are considered sacred in Hinduism. When two rivers meet it is called Sangama and the where 3 rivers meet is called Triveni Sangama. Within the borders of Karnataka state are several confluences; the well known are Hemavati-Kaveri, Kabini-Kaveri, Arkavathi-Kaveri, Tunga-Bhadra, Ghataprabha-Krishna, Malaprabha-Krishna and Bheema-Krishna. Of all these confluences, Malaprabha-Krishna Sangama known as Kudala Sangama is the most visited. On the wedge shaped land between the two rivers stands the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva known by the name Sangameshwara Devasthana. The shrine has a long history.. the temple we see today is said to be built early 13th Century CE. However, it is said that it was originally built during Chalukyan period.

The east-facing temple is built of sandstone in Jain architecture. It has two entrances, one each on the eastern and northern walls. The temple interior has 4 parts - Mukhamantapa, Navaranga, Antarala and Garbhagriha. The centre of Navaranga is a dance floor surrounded by 4 beautifully carved pillars. In this hall are idols of Basaveshwara, Neelambike, twin-Basava and Ganapati. The Garbhagriha is preceded by a Torana, an arch rich in design depicting floral designs and animal figures. And finally in the Garbhagriha is a Shivalinga known by the name Sangameshwara or Sangamanatha or Sangamadeva.

Here's the temple, heavily modified to suit the needs of the day. Recalling from what I remember from the short visit with maternal relatives of early 80s. The temple stood on black-soil courtyard with barely any structure made of cement. The temple all stone structure.. probably its original condition. The circular wall was being built around the Aikya Mantapa which stood in the river bed close to the sloping bank. The well was being built to prevent the Aikya Mantapa from being submerged in Basava Sagar, the reservoir created by Narayanpur Dam. I was disappointed for not having seen the original spot :( I climbed the scaffolding around the well, managed to reach the top and got a glance at the Aikya Mantapa. However, I could not muster the courage to descend into the well. The next visit was in 2009, finally I could see Basavanna's Aikya Mantapa. Coming back to the present..

This is the bathing ghat next to the temple. Visitors can take bath in Basava Sagar.

This is the east-facing porch of the temple ~ Mukha Mantapa with Sukhanasi. A pair of elephants flank the entrance.

One of the beautifully carved tuskers with royal decorations.

This is the front view of the Navaranga Mantapa. In the center are the pair of the Basavas facing the deity in the Garbhagriha. Check out the Torana (arch) across the vestibule connecting the Navaranga Mantapa and Garbhagriha.

The Garbhagriha door-frame has multiple rings and includes pair of Dwarapala.

OmNamah Kudala Sangamadeva.

If you take a close look at the columns and walls, you can see they are pockmarked. Surely those wouldn't be part of original design. I inquired with the priest on duty. Any guesses how? It seems the pits were drilled to fit in decorative lights for a political event! Shocking to know who approved that brilliant idea. Wondering if any of the politicians ever felt a historic monument has been vandalized.

The pair of meditating Nandi. Their posture seems so serene.

The rear view of the temple. The lower rear portion is mostly original however the upper half is recently constructed.

This small plain structure is said to be the tomb of Jatadeva Muni, the ascetic who ran a  school where Basaveshwara was a student.

Close to the main entrance of the temple is an inscription in Kannada. The slab is damaged but the letters are legible. This is one of the two inscriptions found at Kudala Sangama.

Besides this temple, there are several modern constructions at Kudala Sangama such as museums and conference halls. Pilgrims visiting the place can stay here and enjoy its peaceful ambiance.

Apr 15, 2017

Gagan Mahal, Bijapur

July 3, 2016
The word Gagan means sky and Mahal is palace or mansion. Going by its name, its a palace high above the ground. The palace's elevation has an immense arch flanked by equally high but narrow arches. The ground floor of the palace was the Dubar hall. It has a platform from where the king used to address the court. On the upper level of the building were the galleries and residential quarters. The upper floor was said to be supported by wooden beams and pillars. However, today the building is a roofless structure, devoid of the decorations - what we see today is the skeleton remains of the palace.

Gagan Mahal is said to be built in 1561 CE by Adil Shah I. This palace is said to have witnessed important events of the kingdom. QuenChand Bibi is said to have controlled the state's affairs from here. And the traitor Kishawar Khan had dragged the noble queen from here and sent to Satara for imprisonment. Later in 1686, when Moghul emperor Aurangzeb conquered the city, the last Adil Shahi ruler Sikander Shah was brought in chains to pay allegiance to the conqueror. After this incident, the palace is said have become silent.. deserted.

View of the arches from the Durbar platform.

The Durdar hall walls. The lintel level of the ground floor is seen, its about 25 above the floor level. Seems like the upper floor was made of wooden planks, supported by wooden beams and columns. The stairway to the upper floor is concealed within these thick walls.

This is one of the smaller halls flanking the Durbar hall. Probably private meetings were held here.

Gagan Mahal is situated right besides the fort wall and moat. The moat not only provided security but also supplied water to the palace. I wonder how water was supplied to the upper floors of the palace.

We must've spent around 30 minutes at this 460 years old monument. It was worth the time. If you are touring Bijapur, I guess Gagan Mahal is one of the places where one can take a short break. In the vicinity, in fact on the same street are two other monuments - Anand Mahal and the ancient church of Bujapur.

Apr 8, 2017

Toponymy across Karnataka

The history of names is an interesting subject. I'd started my own little research a year or two ago but did not make much progress as such. On and off there were incidents which gave bits and pieces of info. For example;  while climbing Watagal, a boulder heap hill, I asked my companions about the name's origin. Pushpa was the one say that originally the hill might have been called Wattida Kallu, meaning heap of stones. The phrase might have evolved to the Wattidagallu and finally to Watagal. There are few straight examples like- 1. the village Kappagallu was named so because of its proximity to a hill which has a face of black stones; 2. Jaladurga - Jala means water and Durga is fort; this fort is situated on an island in river Krishna hence the name. Having visited many places ending with kallu or gallu, I realized most places had histories dating back to Neolithic times. During a quiz, one of the questions was about Allahabad - that's where I learned that 'abad' was a Persian suffix cities. Also, on our trips, guides at historical spots would narrate interesting stories about place names.

So, the study of place names, their origins and meanings is Toponymy. Toponym is the common name for any geographical place. There are specific types of toponym such as 'hydronym' for a water body and 'oronym' for a hill or mountain.

The study also includes corruptions by rulers of different religious community or foreigners or even by local folks. There's a Devadurga in Raichur district which is corrupted to Deodurga. A village between Dharwad and Saundatti is commonly called as Haribidi - its original name is Harobelavadi. People find shortcuts even in pronouncing. We all know the long lasting effects of British, French and Portuguese on our place names. One beautiful name that's twisted badly is Srirangapattana. Search for it and you'll be seeing lot of results with Seringapatam. A British political agent has spelled Kalyani as Kullianee - spelled as pronounced.

Then there are names like Maski, Byadgi, Mudkavi, Lalguli, Gubbi, Kanakumbi, Muddebihal, Jamkhandi, Sondur, Kushtgi, Manvi, Roudakunda, Piklihala, , and many more for which I have no clue what the names mean or how they came into being.

You might not have heard of Talgatpura. Its a village on Bengaluru-Kanakapura. I'd asked the meaning of the name to person from this village. He wasn't sure and a common acquaintance's thought was- Talgat can be split into Talae + ketta.  "Talae ketta" means "out of one's mind." The conclusion was that, if were lot of mad people in this village at some point of time.. this was said in a jovial tone, no offense meant. The curiosity to know the history of the name remains..

Here's a list I could put together. Surely, I expect this list to grow.

ಪದname ends withmeaningplaces
ಕ್ಯಾಂಪ್campcampAmareshwara Camp, Burma Campfound mostly in Raichur and Gangawati districts; these were supposedly temporary settlemets which have been around for many years
ಪುರpuracityChikkaballapura, VijayapuraUsually a well planned city is named as Pura or Puram.
ಕೊಳ್ಳkollacleft, valleySiddana Kolla, Shabari KollaThese are ancient Hindu shrines concealed in rock clefts with a stream flowing by it. Kollas are found in northern part of Karnataka, particularly in Bagalkote and Belgaum districts.
ಸಂಗಮsangamaconfluenceKudala SangamaHinduism considers confluences as holy spots and usually temples are built at the confluence; as the temple gains popularity people settle nearby forming a village or small town
ಅಬಾದ್abadcultivated placeShahabad, Firozabadcities on plain land namedby Muslim rulers
ಕಾಡುkaduforestTalakaadu, Yercad
ದುರ್ಗ durgafortChitradurga, Savanadurga, HosadurgaDurga means fort. Fortified hills under Hindu kings usually had names ending with Durga.
ಕೋಟೆkotefortHosakoteKote means fort. Fortified towns' ruled by Hindu kings had names ending with Kote.
ಘಡ್gadfortVallabhgad, PanhalgadGad means fort in Marathi. Fortified hills under Maratha kings had names ending with gad.
ವತಿvatigirlBhadravati, Gangavati
ಹಟ್ಟಿhattihamletHullollihatti, ShirahattiHamlets which grew into villages or towns
ಪಾಳ್ಯpalyahamletGummanayakanapalya, Kanakanapalya
ಕೊಪ್ಪkoppahamletKoppa, Shuntikoppa, Shiralkoppa
ಗುಡ್ಡguddahillKappathgudda, BachinguddaAncient hill top settlements which have moved to the base of the hill still retain the original name.
ಗಿರಿgirihillMadhugiri, BrahmagiriThese are usually ancient Hindu shrines or forts on hills. gudda, giri, betta, parvatha are types of hills.
ಬೆಟ್ಟbettahillAnjanadri Betta, Thenginkal Betta, Chamundi BettaThese are usually ancient Hindu shrines or forts on hills.
ಕೊಂಡkondahillPenukonda, GolcondaForified hills or citadels.
ಗುಂದgundhillNavalgund, Naragund, Hunagundthe first and two places mentioned here are towns situated next to hills
ಕ್ರಾಸ್crossjunctionKibbanahalli Crossa junction on a highway, one of the roads leading to a town or village, the junction grew into a permanent settlement
ಕೆರೆkerelakeArasikere, Davanagere, TarikereProbably these were originally settlements close to a lake and caught on to the name of the waterbody. 'gere' is another form of 'kere'.
ದೋಆಬ್doabland between two converging riversRaichur Doabthe term was used in Muslim kingdoms
ವಾಡಾwadamansionDharawada, Koliwada, Yadwad
ಕಟ್ಟಿkatti / gatti / kattemeeting platformYeragatti, Kurubagatti, HunashikattiPossibly ancient trading posts which convereted into permanent settlements. Hunashikatti litreally means 'tamrind platform'. Probably it was a tamrind market post once.
ಗುಂಟguntanearYeragunta, Chintalakuntagunta is a suffix to denote near, example- near the house. similarly it being suffixed to a landmark which becomes a name.
ಗೂಡುgudunestNanjanagudu, Arkalagudu
ಗುಪ್ಪೆguppepileBidaraguppe, Vandaraguppe
ಗುಂಡಿgundipitAnegundi, Kemmanagundi, MavinagundiA settlement near a large natural or man-made pit. Kemmangundi is actually Kempu Mannina Gundi means red soil pit. The place is a former iron ore mine, presenty a tourist spot.
ಕುಂಡಿkundipit?Lakkundi, Yekkundiprobably a variation of gundi
ಹೊಳೆholaeriver or streamAihole, Yennehole, Naagaraholeplaces situated next to a river or a stream.
ಹಾಳ್halruinsYerebudihal, Budihal, Pashupatihal, Kanginhal
ಅಂಗಡಿangadishopBeltangadi, Uppinangadiprobably the origin of the place can be traced to a shop that existed here
ಕೋಡಿkodisluice or outletChikkodiprobably a settlement near a large lake with an outlet
ಕಲ್ಲುkallu / gallustonePattadakallu, Kappagallu, Anekal, Watagal, IlkalA landmark stone or boulder would be the origin. Usually such places have a log history, often going back to Neolithic times. 'kallu' has variations such as kal, gal or gallu.
ಬಂಡೆbandestone or boulderGudibandeprobably a variation of kallu / gallu
ಕೇರಿkeristreetHukkeri, Madikeri
ಊರುoorutownBengaluru, Mysuru, Tumkuru, Belurooru is one of the oldest and frequently heard suffix for place names
ಪೇಟೆpattanatownChannapattana, Srirangapattanalooks like pattana has originaited in Mysuru kingdom
ಪಟ್ಟಣpetetownHosapete, Virajpete, Somwarpete
ನಗರnagartown or cityNavanagar, Hosanagar, Vijayanagara
ಗಾಂgaonvillageBelgaon, Shiggaon, Madgaonthis form is usually found in north-west Karnataka, Goa and Maharastra
ಹಳ್ಳಿhallivillageDevanahalli, Tirthahalli
ವಳ್ಳಿvallivillageMalavalliprobably a form of halli
ಪಲ್ಲಿpallivillageBagepalli, palli is the older form of halli used mostly in border districts of Karnataka and mainly in Andhra Pradesh
ಬಾವಿbaviwellMadanbavi, Amminabaviplaces history points to a well, usually a large deep well
ಗದ್ದೆgaddewet farm landMandagadde, Naradagaddeusually hamlets in a remote locations such as a jungle or an island
ಈಶ್ವರ್eshwarSankeshwar, Muradeshwar, Laxmeshwara
ಲೈಮ್limBicholim, Sanquelimeffect of Portugese
ಮಂಗಳmangalaNelamangala, Ayyamangala, Betamangala
ಸಾಂದ್ರsandraKyathasandra, Thimmasandra, Singasandra
ಗೋಡ್godMundgod, Murgod
ಬೆನ್ನೂರ್bennurRanibennur, Santhebennur, Motibennur
ಘಟ್ಟghattaSidlaghatta, Bannerghatta


Apr 1, 2017

Saat Qabr, Bijapur ~ साठ कब्र

December 2010
Saat Qabr is one of the less known historical spots of Bijapur from Adil Shahi's time. Even if some tourists know about it, most of them fail to locate the spot because its located on the city outskirts and even many local people are unaware of it. Also, a stream flowing close to the graveyard was an obstacle of sorts during rainy season.. local people would discourage anyone from venturing into the snake infested waters. During my visit of Dec-2010, Saat Kabr was well outside the city. We spent a good half an hour to find the spot from less than a kilometer of it. It was almost dusk when we reached it.

Saat Qabr means sitxy graves. Yes, we could count 63 graves arranged a 7 x 9 rectangular array on a black stone platform. On the western edge of the platform is a single structure, probably a mosque. We explored the surroundings as well and found a well behind the mosque. The well was a grand one; its inside was lined with dressed blocks. Also, a tower was built next to it which helped raise water from the well. My guess is- water from this well was used to irrigate crops on this land before 'Saat Kabr' came into being. There wasn't much water and the bottom was in view; probably about 20 feet deep. Deep enough to drown an adult human. With so much in our sights, to know what happened in the past, we'll have to use little imagination. So, lets go back three and half centuries to know how the history of this graveyard.

Saat Qabr is the graveyard of Afzal Khan's wives. He is said to be of Afghan descent, stood 7' tall and a powerful commander during the reign of Ali Adil Shah II. Personally he was well off and maintained a harem of 60+ wives. Nobles were expected to have many wives those days. Afzal Khan was said to have won many campaigns for the kingdom and the Sultan had great faith in this power. Afzal Khan though powerful, believed in astrology and consulted a Sufi Peer before commencing any campaign.

During that time Mughals and Marathas were harassing Adil Shahis. Afzal Khan volunteered to the task of defeating the Marathas. As usual, when he met the Sufi Peer, he was told that he would die in the battle. Being a noble, he was worried about his name after his death. His wives cannot go around marrying or living with someone else. So he decides to kill them before leaving Bijapur. Probably he thinks that drowning would be the best method. He might have asked the wives to jump into the well and give up their lives. May be some wives submitted while others tried to escape with their lives. Probably the land where the well was situated belonged to him - I'm guessing this based on the fact that Afzal Khan's mosque is about 1.2 kms north of Saat Qabr. So the wives were brought here on some pretext and the news broken. Some chose to jump voluntarily and those who tried escaping were pushed to their deaths. This is the story of this graveyard.

Here're two not so good videos shot in poor light with my Motorola. Phone cameras back then weren't so advanced.

During the medieval times, widows' lives was said to be difficult, especially for widows of royal families. They were forced to marry or live with the conqueror. This was one of the ways to spoil the losers' names. Surely Afzal Khan would've done the same and that was probably one the reasons for this large harem. And that was one of the reasons to kill his wives before he died? There are many stories about queens and women ending their lives on hearing news of their husband's martyrdom but this is a rare story where a warrior killing wives before his final battle. Not sure if you'll ever find another as this.

Having done the deed, he sets out to meet the Maratha leader Shivaji in the jungle near Pratapgad. It was a supposed to be a peaceful meeting between the two leaders with just two bodyguards on either sides but Afzal had something else in mind. Knowing, Afzal's cunning mind, Shivaji had prepared well, he had armed himself with tiger claws and a dagger. Shivaji had positioned several soldiers in the jungle to ambush Afzal's men. The leaders entered the meeting venue, a tent. During the customary embrace, Afzal the giant tried to crush Shivaji in his arms but unsuccessful becuse of Shivaji's body armor. In self defence Shivaji uses the tiger claws on Afzal's stomach tearing out his intestines. The bodyguards swing into action, Shivaji's side has the upper-hand and eventually behead Afzal Khan. The Sufi Peer's prediction did come true. Shivaji had Afzal Khan's mortal remains buried with military honors at the foot of Pratapgad fort.

Mar 25, 2017

What to see in Raichur District?

When you look at the four north-eastern districts of Karnataka, it looks like a neat stack.. Raichur, Yadgir, Kalburgi and Bidar. Raichur's southern and northern borders run along two great rivers Tungabhadra and Krishna. So Raichur was known as Doab meaning 'land between two rivers'. The district is mostly black soil plains with scattered hills. Raichur is known for its thermal power station, paddy fields & rice mills, gold mine and a special variety of granite. Raichur's history can be easily traced back to Neolithic times. Mudgal and its surrounding area are known prehistoric sites. Archaeologists have found several prehistoric artifacts on Maski hill.  Then there's Emperor Ashoka's inscription at Maski - the edict of peace - which is an indication that this land was pert of the great Mauryan empire. Then it was ruled by Satavahanas Vakatakas, Kadambas, Chalukys, Kalachuris, Kakatiyas, Vijayanagara, Bahamani and finally the Nizam of Hyderabad.

Coming to the name Raichur is the anglecized version of Rayachooru. There are many stories about how the name came into being. One of them goes like this.. A chieftain on witnessing a spectacle of a rabbit turning on a dog that pursued it and tearing the dog into pieces. The chieftain thought the spot was special and fit for a fort and constructed one naming it as Naichur which connoted the idea of the dog being torn to pieces. The present name, Raichur, is said to be have derived from that Naichur. Another story is that the name originated from combining the word Rai meaning stone in Telugu with Ooru meaning town. The product was Rajooru which becomes Rayachooru over time. Well, there are other stories about the name's origin but do check out this write-up on origin of the name Raichur. During Bahamani rule, Rayachooru had been reamed as Ferozenagar which was never accepted and reverted to its original name. When Karnataka state was formed, Raichur district came into being with Raichur city as its headquarters.

Here's what Raichur offers for tourists:

Raichur fort, Cooling towers of RTPS, Manik Prabhu temple
and Navarang Darwaza

Sentry post at Manvi fort, Kallur Mahalaxmi, view of river Krishna from
Jaladurga fort and Ahokan inscription at Maski

Ruins of Mukkunda fort, tower at Roudkunda fort,
Deity of Tryambakeshwara temple of Kavital and Watagal hill
Raichur fort - The modern city has grown around the ancient citadel which had two rings of fortification. The outer fortifications has five gateways- Naurangi Darwaza on the north, Kati Darwaza on the east, Khandak Darwaza on the south, Doddi Darwaza on the south-east and Mecca Darwaza on the west. The inner fort has two gateways- Sailani Darwaza on the west and Sikandari Darwaza on the east. The core of the fort is the fortified hill.

Mavina Kere - The largest water-body of Raichur is also known by the name Aam Talab is situated south-west of the hill fort. It was constructed during the rule of Kakatiya queen Rudramma Devi of Warangal in 1294 CE.

Navarang Darwaza - one of the five gates of Raichur fort is a protected monument. Within the premises is a collection of ancient stone sculptures.

Usukina Hanumappa Gudi - Usuku means sand in Kannada. This shrine dedicated to Hanuman was once surrounded by sand. However now its stone slabs instead of sand.

Manik Prabhu Gudi - This is an old temple situated on a hillock on the city outskirts. Manik Prabhu is a saint of XIX Century. People believe that he was the fourth incarnation of Lord Dattatreya who was born in 1817 and attained Samadhi in 1865. He was contemporary of Shirdi Baba and Akkalkot Swami Maharaj.

Agriculture University - The vast campus of the university is situated on the western side of the city. Those driving in from Dharwad side have to pass by the campus.

Jami Masjid, Raichur - This is the largest mosque in Raichur city.

Ek-Minar-ki-Masjid - An mosque with one minar built in the Persian style during Bahamani rule. The minar is 13' in diameter and 65' high. It has a winding staircase leading to its top. In April 2016 during a road widening operation an adjoining building was demolished, the damaged walls revealed pillars and beams with images of Hindu Gods and motifs. Samples of the ancient rubble were sent for examination and confirmed to be rubble from destroyed Hindu temples of Hoysala period.

Maliabad fort - This fort situated 6 kilometers south of Rayachooru dates back to Kakatiyan times. It was known as Mallayyabanda which later transformed to Maliabad when Muslim rulers took over. The fort is built on a rocky hillock and the adjoining plain land. The fort has two rings of fortification, the outer ring is relatively older while the inner ring is built of finely dressed massive granite blocks. On the hillock is said to be a Kannada inscription dating back to Hoysala or Vijayanagara times. Within the fort is a Goshala which produces medicine out of Gomutra (cow's urine) which is used for treating many diseases.

Raichur Thermal Power Station - As you drive from Raichur to river Krishna, you will see the massive cooling towers and chimneys of RTPS. River Krishna supplies water to this is a coal powered electricity generation plant. The plant is operated by the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited. The power station consisting of 8 power generating units was commissioned between 1985 and 2010. About 40% of power generated in Karantaka is contributed by RTPS. Tourists might be allowed into the plant but high level permissions would be required. The township for RTPS employees is called Shaktinagar.

Sri Sugureshwara Temple, Devsugur - is an ancient shrine dedicated to Lord Veerabhadra. Locally the god is called by the name Sugureshwara, This spot is about 20 kilometers north of Raichur and right besides RTPS township.

Naradagadde - is an island in river Krishna situated about 38 kilometers northeast of Raichur city. Legend says that Lord Narada performed penance on this island. The nearest land villages are Boodidipadu (Budidipad) which is in Karnataka state and Nettempadu which is on Telangana side. On the eastern tip of the island is a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. On the western side of Naradagadde is another island called Kurugadde.

Kurugadde - is an island in river Krishna situated about 35 kilometers northeast of Raichur city. This island is about 5.7 kilometers long and half kilometer at its widest point. On the island is a village called Kuruvapura and agricultural plots. On the western tip of the island is a temple dedicated to Sripada Srivallabha. The nearest land village is Atkur.

Manvi fort - is on the smallest of three hillocks situated south of Manvi town. The fort is in complete ruins. Within the fort is a Dargah. On the largest of the hillocks, is an ancient shrine dedicated to Sri Mallikarjuna. Also Manvi is known for numerous fairs held at temples deducted to Hindu gods like Kareyamma, Yellamma, Mahamalleshappa and Sanjeevaraya.

Mahalaxmi Devastana and Markandeshwara Gudi - these two temples are at Kallur village. The village is situated to a boulder heap hillock which is an identified prehistoric site. The town was fortified long time back but hardly anything remains of the fort today. The village is popular for Sri Mahalaxmi Devastana. Though not popular Sri Markandeshwara Gudi is an ancient temple probably built during Chalukyan times.

Panchamukhi Anjaneya Devasthana - is an ancient cave shrine dedicated to Lord Hanuman situated near Gandhal village, about 40 kms south of Raichur. Gandhal village is situated close to left bank of river Tungabhadra and on the opposite bank is popular Hindu pilgrim center Mantralaya - the resting place of Madhwa saint Sri Raghavendra. Road distance between Gandhal and Mantralaya is about 20 kilometers. Legend says that Sri performed a 12 year penance at the cave, as a result Lord Hanuman appeared in the form with five heads. Hence the name Pancha-Mukhi Anjaneya. There are two routes to reach Gandhal- 1. Raichur to Gandhal and 2. Manvi - Neermanvi - Gorbal - Gandhal (about 12 kms on Manvi to Raichur road, turn right towards Gorbal).

Ashoka's edict of Maski - Of the nine edicts discovered in Karnataka one is located on the slopes of Maski hill. The edict is a protected monument but tourists are allowed to see the site. Maski hill is an identified prehistoric site. In August 2012, few human skeletons were discovered along with ancient pottery. The ancient graveyard was found close to the stone inscription of Ashoka. Also, close to the edict, just behind Devanam Priya College is a mound with stone etchings of animals is believed to be of Chola period.

Mudgal fort - Built on a rock hill and the neighboring plain land, Mudgal fort was a formidable fort during its hey days. Mudgal was an outpost of Kakatiya kingdom in XIV Century. In the XVI Century it was part of Vijayanagara empire before Bahamanis took over. The fort has two entrances-one in north and the other on the eastern side. The southern part of the fort is defended naturally by hillocks and steep rock faces while a moat runs along the northern perimeter. Bastions and turrets are strategically placed on the rampart walls. On the rocky hillock is a tower known as Bala Hisar, probably used as a command post. Near the Bala Hisar is a rock shelter in which prehistoric paintings are found - this is evidence that Mudgal's history goes back to Neolithic times. Also, in the shelter is a rare rock which sounds like a metallic bell. In fact within the fort are two bell rocks. Coming back to the fort, there are at least 5 to 6 slabs with Kannada inscription probably of Vijayanagara times. Its a historic spot one must see.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Mudgal - The Sacred Heart of Jesus Church is said to be established during the reign of Ibrahim Adil Shah. The original structure was built around 1557; later it was demolished and the present day building was built in 1971.

Piklihala - is a village 5 kilometers south of Mudgal. Piklihala is an identified Neolithic site.

Jaladurga fort - is one of the few island forts of Karnataka. The fort stands on the western tip of a 8 km long island created by river Krishna. The fort is surrounded by chasms and its natural defense is water hence the name Jaladurga. Close by, downstream is another island with a small fort on it.

Mukkunda fort - is in Mukkunda village situated on left bank of river Tungabhadra in Sindhanur taluk. It is about 30 kms from Sindhanur. In this village are three historical monuments - a small fort atop a rock formation and ancient temples dedicated to Murari, Somalingeshwara and Bheeralingeshwara. The fort could be built during 16th Century CE. Also, there is Dargah of Gaddikhader Wali situated on the island in Tungabhadra.

Roudkunda fort - is in Roudkunda village in Sindhanur taluk. To the west of the village are two hillocks which are identified as Neolithic sites. Artifacts were found on the hills and the valley between them. On one of the hillocks is a small fort built during 16th century CE.

Devadurga fort - is situated in the village of the same name. The fort main fort is on a hillock besides the village and within the village is a smaller fort like structure housing a palace within. Devadurga village is known for availability of talc.

Kotekal fort - is an ancient fort situated on a hillock close to Kotekal village. The fort ruins are visible from the state highway connecting Raichur and Lingsugur.

Tryambakeshwara temple of Kavital - Kavital is a small village situated off Raichur - Lingsugur highway. The ancient temple probably of Chalukyan times is known for its deity - three Lingas on one pedestal - it is said this is the only one such shrine in India.

Watagal hill - is a huge naturally formed boulder heap. In the aerial view it looks a tadpole. The name Watagal could be derived by the Kannada phrase Wattida Kallu which means heap of stones. Ont this hill are ruins of a fort. Also the hill is identified as a prehistoric archaeological site. This hill is situated off Raichur - Lingsugur highway.

Mudval - is a village 8 kilometers north of Maski. It is an identified Neolithic site where gold crushers and iron slag was found.

Gurugunta - is a town in Lingsugur taluk known for Gurugunta Samsthana of Naiks who were related to rulers of Kankagiri and Shorapur.

Kadlur - is considered as a sacred place. The village is situated close to Krishna-Bhima Sangama. According to an inscription found at Chikalparvi, Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara had visited this pilgrim center.